TPaul Bennett says he always intended to do just one show, then drive it home. “This is my selfish car.”
The words carry the confidence of someone who has been planning construction for a large part of their life. “I’ve been building cars for others for over 30 years. I just turned 50 and I’m a workaholic. But I started with this on my bucket list.
“Make sure you tell them the trailer was like preparing another car!” Paul insisted. It rides on airbags and has a heater for Paul’s canine companion, Sippy.
There’s more to this astonishing street machine than meets the eye. Debuted at MotorEx in 2012, the car was an on-and-off project for more than a decade.
Finding and buying Goliath in the first place is a good yarn. Paul had just moved to Kurrajong in Sydney’s far western suburbs, and while settling in the area he went exploring.
“I saw it in a paddock,” he says. “There were three under a tree – a coupe, a wagon and a sedan. The tailgate was open so the yard ducks could roost in it.
“There was something about them that kept drawing me back. I knocked on the door but mum was very reluctant to sell for emotional reasons – she used to take her kids to school in it.
“She called it Golly Vogue. It was black and red. Her husband was a tech teacher. She overheard some students talking about Paul Bennett and it was too much of a coincidence for her. She asked the students. , he assured him that this Paul block was going to do something good with the car. So he apologized and sold it to me.
Of the three wrecks, Paul’s focus was the wagon and I was more than happy to help him remove the engine, then gas up the chassis of this rare oddity in preparation for its rebuild.
Most cars built in this caliber do laps on the Australian show scene but Paul Tassie can’t wait to get on the laps. That’s why he made the trailer
At the time, Paul thought it would take three years – “I figured I’d give myself a week off every couple of months to work on it.”
It was a sensible goal. Gutting took a few hours, with a week or two of work in between trying to get the basics of the chassis and some preliminary work done on the body.
The engine cover can be removed in a minute. Two sleeves, low at the front, slide back to separate it and the bonnet opens almost vertically.
The car isn’t much bigger than a classic Mini or VW, which took on all sorts of challenges. Paul had to work hard to fit everything into such tight confines, including heavy accessories (batteries, brake system and fuel tank) plus a pile of trinkets such as a reversing camera, electric windows, solenoids, etc. Power door latches, cruise control, seats. nav and more major hardware like airbag suspension system and air conditioning.
“Every square inch of this car has something,” explains Paul. “Every inch has been redone. It’s so small that I had to use everything.
The engine is a 4.0 liter Toyota Hemi. Paul converted it from EFI to carby and installed the top accessories for easy access after the cover comes off.
The depth of the chassis rails was a bonus – the spaces between and outside of them hide the brake parts under the driver’s seat and the airbag gear under the passenger. Nothing hangs under the sills and Paul used the rails himself—one is an extra air tank for the suspension, the other runs the coolant lines for the heater in the trailer.
As much as space, weight was important in the Buona Machine and Paul’s keen attention to detail has resulted in a 50/50 front to rear weight distribution in a car that pushes just 1170kg.
Nine-inch internals in sheet metal housing. The scratch-built airbag suspension consists of three ride heights and includes a trailer!
Surprisingly, most of this was done in 1999/2000. Then Goliath was put out of the way for a while, while Paul got on with some remunerative work – and building his magnificent Willys (SmApril ’07).
About a year ago, Paul woke up one day with the creeping realization that more than a decade had passed since he started building Goliath. Sure, the chassis, suspension and most of the body work had been done, but a non-negotiable deadline was looming.
The narrow track made installing wheels, tires and suspension a precise process. One chassis rail is an air tank, the other provides services for the trailer.
“I wanted it done by my 50th birthday,” he says. On top of that, he wanted to show it off at MotorEx.
“Between the customer build, I put a lot of effort into the last year. Then I closed the workshop doors for the last eight or nine weeks and we’re stuck inside.
The interior shines with innovation and common sense. Hidden wiring fuses and brains can be accessed in seconds.
The entire interior was made of steel. Everything was sketched out using 20mm tube and then sheeted into tubing from the dash to the tailgate. It was designed to be installed in sections and everything comes out that way for easy servicing.
The headliner is fiberglass. “Steel is very heavy,” says Paul. The outside of the roof served as the deer for the headline. It was laid out, quartered and sewn together with one flat removed so it fits inside and is stiff enough to stretch from edge to edge of the cabin.
The Borgward was an odd looker even in stock form, but was praised by the Australian motoring press at the time for its economy and dynamics.
The Dash Dakota is digital and all the small controls — wipers, washers, ignition and lights — slide down from the bottom of the steering column. The larger electrics reside on a panel with an extra meter of wiring behind it so it can be placed on the driver’s seat for easy diagnosis.
The trim on the seats is leather but despite appearances, most of the interior is painted.
Gas ax! Bennett and Torrance cut the floor from Goliath more than a decade ago with the customer building and Paul’s murderous Willies getting in the way.
“We had blokes at MotorEx asking how we got the leather into the car without any seams. People were debating it – ‘Wow, good job, you’ve stretched it so well!’ When I explained that it was all paint, they thought I was peeing.
All the badges were laser cut from aluminum and then polished, as were the ovals on the seats. Eight downlights animate the cabin.
Inspired by Splice Pine Lime Ice Block, this is a Ring de Beer blend that Paul sprinkled with plenty of platinum and gold pearls. “I wanted to get the bright, warm summer light of the sun in it.”
The basic setup of the engine, suspension and chassis was also done initially.
That warm feel-good stuff was also the basis of Paul’s display.
“I saw a block on the entryway demonstrating the formation of a surfboard. That gave me the idea to bend a surfboard to match the shape of the roof.
So he filled a garbage bag with expanding foam, molded it by hand and then spade-filed the board to mirror the car’s turret before fiberglassing it.
And he’s not even a surfer – “but it’s never too late to learn!” they say.
Ditching the stock transverse-spring front end, 40hp flat-four engine and gearbox
The Goliath is powered by the Toyota 4.0-liter alloy Hemi V8 from the Japanese market crown.
“These engines were designed to move a two-tonne limo. It was ideal. The whole engine weighs just 220kg. Nobody has an engine like a Toyota – I’d get half a million keys out of it.
Still, this was the only setback for the project. Paul’s apprentice Dan explains: “It hadn’t started in a while and the carby was dry. We were putting fuel in it but it wouldn’t catch fire. Sideshow. [the electrician] Was tweaking the wheel and boom! It blew up.
“Paul came through the door and said: ‘What was that?’ It looked like a cannon was going off. Sideshow was spinning, the side of his face was black with oil and his hair was smiling. It was like a cartoon! Fuel had seeped into the sump and when Sideshow spun around When he went, there was a spark in him.
The sump was blown into a globe-like shape but that was the extent of the damage. “It could have been huge,” says Paul. “We only painted the whole car but it didn’t even damage the cross member.”
Other than a sump change and some minor fiddles, the engine hasn’t been opened. The EFI was replaced by a carby and the Crown’s auto was ditched for a Supra five-speed. There’s nine inches of sheet metal under the rear, while the narrow nose is filled with a radiator. Vented by a thermo-fan, it’s from a Corvette and the baby should have no problem keeping the Toyota V8 cool, even in tow.
“You’ll never see this car without a trailer,” says Paul. “It’s a pro-touring touring package.”
At MotorEx, the Goliath won gold medals for Overall Innovation, Impact and Display, Bodywork, and Best of Breed — Street Machine.
But that’s why he didn’t build it. He already has a stack of elite cars under his belt.
“It’s 100 percent my style and my soul in this car and I built it purely for myself. I don’t care if anyone likes it or hates it but I’m proud that people enjoy it. There are.